How would you describe one’s complete change of reaction to unusual events in life ? Weird, strange, words dance in and out of my mind as I continue my struggle to comprehend a recent change I discovered in myself. I am referring to those events that cause you great embarrassment and worry, the ones you replay in your mind over and over long after the night light goes out. Some of them I can recall quite vividly: The evening my girl friend signaled to me across the large dinner table (we were out with friends) that I needed to remove a few strayed grains of rice from the outer corner of my mouth. The fall I had much earlier in life from my shiny new bicycle, much to the amusement of some onlookers.The stupidity I felt after waving at someone I thought I was acquainted with and receiving a blank questioning stare in return.I never really found it necessary to review the emotions and reactions brought out by such situations over the years,but a simple situation yesterday Dec 6th 2010 prompted me to reflect a little.
The morning was very rainy here in Guyana, my corner of the world, I nevertheless set out to accompany my sister to the doctor. We set off fairly early in the morning amidst the rush hour traffic and the rain. We arrived at the hospital on time and without incident ,something worth mentioning considering the perils of the speeding buses in the white rain, and the huge waves made by all and sundry as they drove their vehicles boldly through the water accumulated on the roadways. I parked in the outside parking area of the hospital and we proceeded to enter the gates, as we stood on the curb waiting to cross the road, the thing on my mind was the inch or more of water that I noticed in the yard of the hospital, this water seemed to be going nowhere, instead, it looked more as if waiting to be topped with more water from the looming shower. In my mind I thanked my stars that at the last minute before leaving home I had “followed my mind” and changed the footwear I had chosen for another pair that I had not worn in ages but offered cover and protection to my toes. Chatting merrily, we walked through the huge gates of the compound, and just then the once looming shower burst free from its hold and cascaded in all its glory .With a wild scramble we managed to take out and open our umbrellas, during this fuss I remember for a brief moment feeling as if my foot was some how moving too freely in my shoe , another step on that same leg confirmed the feeling. I looked down, and to my horror indeed it was so. The freedom was the result of the sole of my shoe leaving the upper part from around half way down the entire length of the shoe. I communicated this to my sister whose immediate response was “pull it off” .This I quickly responded was a no no, since I was very uncomfortable with the idea of touching the water soaked shoe, remember this shoe was soaked with water settled in a hospital yard. I proceeded to limp my way with ease into the doctor’s reception area, looking back I smile and wonder, since the distance from where this incident took place to the reception area is quite significant. I do recall noting to myself that my limp would most likely not attract much attention given my location.
Once settled inside the waiting area at the doctor’s , armed with a pencil and two rubber bands we proceeded to put a hold on the now gaping sole . I had no idea that I possessed such dexterity, I managed to strap the sole back to the upper section of the shoe using the rubber band and the pencil,without touching the shoe, at this point I decided to be cautious and strap the other shoe in the same manner,”just in case ” I told my sister. About an hour or so later we were back on our way to the parked car. I gingerly limped along yapping away with my sister, suddenly I noticed the other shoe taking on the form of a huge frog, I paused for a few seconds and lifted my foot off the ground, sure enough just as I suspected the sole of this one had come apart even further than the first. My foot swirled around in the shoe as I struggled to control the swollen object on my foot, “just long enough to reach the car I is all I need.” I explained to my amused looking sister, I could see the calm amusement in her face. A passerby cautioned us to be careful as we approached an uneven patch of ground . We continued walking, and at one point I really think I experienced some moments of pleasure as the breeze moved between my almost bare toes and my feet touched the warm earth. Soon after we were back in the car and ready to go.
Later on as I recounted the event out loud for others something struck me, I realized that in my recount not once did I use the word embarrassed or any other word with same or similar meaning . I felt as though I had just described something fairly normal, missing was the drama that would usually accompany such words as “I wanted to fall through the earth” or “All eyes were on me, I felt like a cent ice” I realized that throughout the entire situation I was calm in control and on top of things. Not even when I artfully strapped the sole back in place inside the waiting area did I become self conscious or embarrassed. I realized that focusing solely on the task at hand enabled me to take control of the situation, to dedicate my energy to the correct channel, hence the type of outcome that was achieved. What puzzled me was the new me, that person was unknown to me, that person stepped forward without a call, and in a very sure manner took charge. I wasted no time on thoughts of embarrassment, confusion, frustration, self consciousness or the likes. I just accepted what had happened and did what I considered best. Later I pondered how, why etc, and I am still not sure, but I sure welcome this stranger who seems endowed with many useful tools, and I look forward to other such changes amid the thousand and one changes we see in the mirror daily.